I am making steady progress in my reading of the House of Silk, and I must say, I am thoroughly impressed! Horowitz has effectively utilized a vast majority of Doyle’s signature tools (characters, resources of language, plot/case outline, etc.) and thus produced a very nostalgic and thoroughly suspenseful novel. As I read, I am making notes of various plot points to include on Wikipedia and my review of the story here, below is what I have contrived thus far (my Wikipedia version is slightly altered):
The House of Silk begins with a brief, personal recounting of events by Watson, much like the Study in Scarlet by the original author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The reader is informed of the particulars regarding the first meeting of Watson and Holmes, including the circumstances of the Afghan War which were inexplicably tied therein. In this we have the prologue, and once the first chapter begins, we are hot on the case. At the start of the first chapter, it is discovered that due to certain unknown circumstances other than the departure of Watson’s wife, Mary (Morston, in The Sign of Four), Watson has returned to board with Holmes, the latter being quite pleased with the reunion, after having little correspondance due to the family life of Watson. Holmes’ proceeds to unravel these unknown circumstances forthwith, deducing that Watson’s wife has left, accompanied with their child [Richard Forrester] (who is sick with influenza) to seek care from Mrs. Cecil Forrester (another prominent figure in the Sign of Four, and the boy’s governess). Shortly thereafter, with an example of Holmes’ ‘deductive powers’ made, the client of the The Flat Cap case is introduced. He is a man by the name of Edmund Carstairs, an art dealer who has come upon unfortunate circumstances. A year after his return to America, he finds himself being stalked by a man in a flat cap, characteristic of an infamous Irish gang. He proceeds to tell Holmes of the events which first led to his acquaintance with the man – he had come to America after a train robbery and destruction therein had destroyed paintings which were to be sent on request of a wealthy client. The gang responsible were based in Botson, led by two Irish twins, Rourke (muscular and assertive) and Keelan (pale, frail, and possible mastermind) O’Donaghue wearing distinct flat caps (thus the name of the gang), and had destroyed the paintings by way of setting charges to one of the train cars containing numerous English pound notes. Mr. Carstairs, with the full financial backing of his wealthy client, proceed to hire a private detective by the name of Bill McParland. The detective soon locates the hideout of the gang and their discovery results in a fierce firefight in which all but one of the gang perishes. As the sole survivor, Keelan O’Donaghue allegedly enacts his revenge by tracking down Carstairs more than a year after the instant, watches his every movement, and supposedly robs of his household a pearl necklace and a few pound notes.Adventure Writer's Blog: House of Silk Summary (Prologue, Ch. 1 - 2.5)
Fun Fact: In Chapter one there is some mention of Dupin, a character developed by the late Edgar Allen Poe, and his ability to make astounding deductions based on visible emotions reflected through the physical medium. Holmes demonstrates this by uncovering Watson's anxiety and the source thereof.